Anthology Gear Wear “The Reckoner” Laptop Bag Review – $539

For those of us needing a refresher on music terminology, Google defines anthology as a published collection of songs typically issued in one album.  With such a word as the name of your company, it is obvious that music related gear is a central focus.  Enter Anthology Gear Wear, based in Greenwood, Missouri, a maker of some of the finest music related leather goods on the planet.  Anthology focuses on designing and crafting gear that will last a lifetime and then some.  After receiving their “The Reckoner” Laptop Bag to review, I became a believer in how they could offer a 100 year warranty on all of their goods.

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After just a few minutes of perusing The Reckoner it was obvious that the bag was built and constructing to exacting standards by skilled craftsman, who reside in the heart of Mexico’s high end leather goods region.  The bag’s primary purpose is to protect sensitive gear and it is built well to accomplish that.  To open the bag, you must first unlatch the strap connected to the distressed nickel buckle.  The distressed hardware on the bag, by the way, looks fantastic especially when married to the Aged Steel color of the bag, which is a dark grey.  The bag also comes in a beautiful Black Whiskey (see picture at the bottom of the article).

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Upon opening the top flap, you then unzipper the black, oversized YKK zipper which reveals a large pocket on each side of the bag and an open space in the middle.  One end of the bag is clearly designed for a laptop as big as 15″, as its sleeve is padded between a layer of pigskin and a layer of finely ground suede. The other side of this sleeve is also padded, as is the bottom of the bag.  This bag is clearly meant to protect your laptop, which is refreshing in the world of leather goods where much of the time your sensitive electronic equipment has no more padding than a single layer of leather.

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Brian, Anthology’s proprietor, determined to layer the bag with a softer material where all electronic items would rest, this to prevent scratching and marring. The other end of the bag’s inside has a pigskin sleeve, where you can stash your music, chargers, or other miscellaneous gear.  The bag’s size is somewhat misleading.  At 12″ high, by 16″ wide, by 4″ deep, the bag is similar in size to many other briefcases on the market, but it seems to hold so much more.  Other than holding my 15″ Macbook Pro and my Ipad, you can comfortably add some books, chargers and accessories to the bag with room to spare.  When speaking to Brian about the bag he indicated that he carries most of his music gear in this bag when traveling to gigs.  It fits a lot without feeling like a large bag.  Anthology does offer the same bag in a larger size, for laptops up to 17″, in case you need to carry some additional space.

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After opening the top flap you will find a smaller storage compartment meant for smaller gadgets and accessories.  This compartment has some additional sleeves where you can secure your Ipad mini or similar sized tablet, your phone, and some pens (or really short guitar sticks).  It also has a zipper that runs the length of the bag, revealing yet another compartment for separating some of your items.  This compartment pulls out about four inches or so, providing additional storage space.  The front of the bag also reveals a small, vertical zipper for stashing tickets, passes, or equivalent.  The back of the bag has an open sleeve for adding your favorite sheet music or magazine while on the go.

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We have established that the bag has a compartment or sleeve for just about anything you would need one for.  The bag is also built so tough that you could probably throw it out of your car at freeway speeds and your laptop would still be just fine.  It really feels that tough.  I counted no less than 38 rivets on the body of the bag, as well as the strap, that help hold this bag together.  That is on top of the tough as nails polyester thread used to stitch the bag together. The handle is also secured to the top flap by being riveted to a steal plate, that is covered with pigskin (the bag’s main liner).

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The bottom of the bag is supported by what feels like an indestructible sheet of polycarbonate.  It has a diamond embedded design and gives the bag an added degree of ruggedness, as well as helps the bag to stand upright easily.  Tough Tough Tough.

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Adding to a very robust design, this bag does not skimp on aesthetic appeal.  It is not just extremely functional, but it looks great too.  That is in part to the two strips of leather that wrap around the top and front of the bag.  One is approximately 4″ wide and the other about 1/2″ wide.  They are purposefully slightly off center and give the bag some visual appeal and a sense of higher design.

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The majority of the bag’s edges are wrapped in either pigskin or the same leather used for the bag’s main construction.  While some may like the edges exposed, this look is more sophisticated.  It allows you to feel a little more comfortable carrying the bag to a business meeting, but still hauling your music gear to a concert.  In general, I found the bag to be a mix of high end fashion design and rugged leatherworking.  It is a bag that you can use and pull off in a variety of settings with ease.

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The Reckoner is made with chrome tanned full grain leather.  The outer shell of the bag, as well as the strap and front pocket, is made from cowhide leather that is approximately four ounces thick, a hearty boot leather thickness.  As mentioned, The Reckoner uses generous amounts of pigskin, of the softer variety, which helps to save on weight (the bag weighs in at six pounds), but also gives the bag a smooth interior.  The pigskin is not thick, probably one ounce thick or thereabouts, but it does not need to be.  It is one of the strongest animal skins available and is very tough. The use of the finely ground suede also provides the softness that your electronics desire.

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The handle of the bag is secured to riveted posts with a D ring on each side and is a combination of both leather and neoprene.  The top of the handle is leather, the bottom is a soft neoprene.  The bag was designed this way to provide a softer grip when carrying the bag for longer stretches.  I tend to be a leather purist in a number of ways and would probably prefer an all leather handle, even though the neoprene feels a bit more comfortable.  Some of the leather sleeves also contain some elastic bands that help keep things in place.  I honestly do not know how durable this elastic is, but with a 100 year warranty, there is not much to worry about.  These are small gripes though for such a ridiculously well made bag.

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Excellent design.  Visual appeal.  Sturdy as hell construction (hell is sturdy I suppose).  Thick, beautiful leather.  38 rivets.  A darn cool name.  Loads of space for your laptop and music gear, or any other gear for that matter.  The Reckoner Laptop Bag from Anthology Gear Wear has all of these features with more to boot.  Does BestLeather recommend this bag?  Oh yes, we do.

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